Counting Money Lesson Plan

Description: Students will learn to count money (dollars and cents)

Rationale:  Counting money is a necessity in life.  People need to buy everyday necessities for everyday life, as well as the extra curricular items they purchase for fun.  Students need to learn how to count money in order to buy things.  They need to know if they have enough money in their pocket to buy something they want or need.  If they have too much money, they need to know they will get change back.  Learning to count money is the first step.    

Prior Knowledge/Misconceptions: 

The students should know what each of the coins are and what they are worth, as well as what $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills look like.  Students have most likely all bought something with money, such as a drink at the convenience store.  However, they may have just given the cashier a lump of money and not known how much they gave. 

NJCCCS: STANDARD 4.1.3 B Numerical Operations  

                 5. Count and perform simple computations with money

·         Cents notation


Objectives/Assessment                                       : 



Cognitive skills


Students will be able to count money under $10.00

This objective will be assessed informally.  We will do an informal assessment by walking around the class while the students are counting their assigned change and will note if the students have counted correctly or incorrectly. 

Hook – The children will be handed a bag of money.  After they are all settled and have played with the money for a minute, we will ask the following questions:

1.    I want you to think hard…In your life, when do you use money?

2.    In your life, why do you use money?

3.    How can you make money?

4.    Why is it important to know the value of each coin?

Activities:  After the hook, we are going to look at a transparency of coins.  We will ask the students to identify each coin.  The transparency shows the front and back of the coin, so we will point out that it is important to know the identification of both the front and back of coins.  We will discuss each coin one at a time and briefly talk about its value.  On the white board, we will transcribe the: Name of the coin and its value. 

Next, we are going to hold up a toy car.  On the toy car, there will be a price tag of $6.17.  At this point, we will discuss 2 vocabulary words:  Decimal point and Dollar sign.  We will point out the decimal point and the dollar sign from the $6.17.  We will tell them that numbers to the left of the decimal point are dollars and numbers to the right are cents.    

What happens when I take away the $ from $6.17?

What happens when I move the decimal point from $6.17 to $617? 

Next, working together, we will count our money to see if we have enough money to buy the car.  We will make sure we tell them that we start with the highest denomination first working our way down.   Together, we will count $6.17.

Start with the $5.00

Then add the $1.00

Then add 1 dime .10 cents

Then add 1 nickel .05 cents

Then add 2 pennies .02 cents

I will circle the coins on the whiteboard that are being projected from the coin transparency so they can see what coins we are using. 

Next, we will tell them that the car is now on sale.  It is now $5.63.  I will ask a student to come up to the board and circle the appropriate coins on the board that will equal $0.63. 

For the next activity, we will ask the students to count out change.  We will modify this so the higher level students will have a more challenging activity than the lower level students.  The higher level students will be asked to count $1.97 and the lower level students to count $0.33.  We will hand each student a piece of paper with one of these values on it.  The lower level students will get $0.33 cents and the higher level will get $1.97.  We will ask the students to put their counted change into the plastic bag.  When everyone is finished, we will ask the students to turn to their neighbor and count up each other’s money to see if they counted correctly.   Robyn and Nick will then walk around to see if each student counted their coins correctly. 


Fake coins and dollars

White board

Coin transparency


Index cards

Additional Questions: 

·         How did people buy items if they don’t have money?

·         What kinds of things do you think people barter to get what they needed? (Students will not know the meaning of barter so we will explain it to them.)

·         Do you think people today still use the barter system?

Closure- As a closing activity, each student will get a bag of paper coins.  They will glue these coins into their math notebook and label each coin with the name and value.   They will be able to use this page as a reference for future money lessons. 

Individualization/Differentiation - We will use a number of methods and accommodations to teach this lesson. 

Follow up Activities:    For homework, the students will be given a worksheet from their math workbook where they will need to write the amount of money on each price tag using dollar signs and decimals. 

Nick Luppino

ELEM 690

I.P. Lesson Rationale

Make connections across the curriculum to motivate, build understanding and encourage the application to real world issues (ACEI 2.8; NAEYC 4.4)

            The rationale for teaching a lesson about counting money is due to the fact that it is a necessary skill in life.  This skill is needed and is very important to get through life.  Children need to understand how the monetary system works.  They need to know how much something costs so they know how much money they need as well as how to figure how much change they will receive after buying something.  Learning how to count money is the first step in this very important life skill.  Counting money also works with the math concept of understanding decimals.  It is crucial to understand where a decimal point goes in a number and money is a very good example of this concept. 

This lesson not only works as a math lesson for the counting functions of money but also as a social studies lesson.  The children will learn that money is necessary to make it through life.  Money is also a driving force behind what they will do with their lives.  Money is an important consideration when getting a job.  The type of job you get will at least partially depend on the education that you receive.  The students will learn the concept of money as well as how to count it and the concept is less math related than social studies related.  Money is also looked at differently in different countries and different cultures which can be further explained after this specific lesson is finished.

            This lesson meets standard 2 of the interview portfolio: make connections across the curriculum to motivate, build understanding and encourage the application to real world issues.  This lesson is taught within the math curriculum for counting money as well as encouraging the use of this skill in real world application.  This lesson is part of the math curriculum but it is also a vital real world skill that can only benefit the students.  The students were motivated to learn this skill through the use of fake money as a manipulative for this lesson.  Most students at this age know what money is but don’t get to handle it very often so using the fake money enabled the students to get an authentic feel for how to use money in the real world.

Differentiate instruction to meet individual needs of students (ACEI 3.2)

This lesson also meets standard 4 of the interview portfolio: differentiate instruction to meet the individual needs of students.  Differentiated instruction was used throughout the lesson by having visuals of the money on both an overhead projection and written on the board.  The instructions and explanations were also given verbally.  The students were not only taught how to count money by writing the numbers but using fake money to actually count it out as well.    We had many students on very different levels for this lesson so for the lower level students the amount of money that needed to be counted was smaller and easier to achieve than that for the higher level students.  Students were also permitted to talk with a partner when practicing how to count out change with the fake money.  The students were able get help from one another which really helped the lower level students that worked with higher level students.  The students had numerous methods to learn this lesson including verbal, visual, and hands-on instruction and practice.